In what is very good news for an open Internet, Energy and Commerce Chairman Henry Waxman has dropped the controversial net neutrality legislation he was trying to push before recess. He had been negotiating with industry groups on a measure that basically reflected the Google/Verizon two-tiered, wireless exempting proposal except worse in that it would have removed the FCC's rulemaking authority.
But in an abrupt turn of events, Waxman has announced that he's scrapping the proposal.
This legislative initiative was predicated on going forward only if we had full bipartisan support in our Committee. We included the Republican staff in our deliberations and made clear that we were prepared to introduce our compromise legislation if we received the backing of Ranking Member Barton and Ranking Member Stearns.
With great regret, I must report that Ranking Member Barton has informed me that support for this legislation will not be forthcoming at this time.
This development is a loss for consumers and a gain only for the extremes. We need to break the deadlock on net neutrality so that we can focus on building the most open and robust Internet possible.
I do not close the door on moving legislation this Congress. Cooler heads may prevail after the elections. But I want my position to be clear: my goal is the best outcome for consumers. If our efforts to find bipartisan consensus fail, the FCC should move forward under Title II. The bottom line is that we must protect the open Internet. If Congress can’t act, the FCC must. [emphasis mine]
That's the key part: "If Congress can't act, the FCC must."
A year ago, Chairman Genachowski gave his first major speech as head of the FCC, in which he committed to protecting net neutrality. However, despite having the votes on the FCC to pass strong net neutrality rules, Genachowski has avoided taking the necessary action to do so. There’s no good excuse for his dithering. In the vacuum created by his inaction, the telcoms have tried to write their own rules, to carve up the Internet according for their own profit. Genachowski can prevent that. Now that he doesn't have the excuse of waiting for Congress, it's time for him to act.
Tell Chairman Genachowski to act--don’t let corporations write their own rules.
The Daily Kos community is only possible because of net neutrality. It created the free and open Internet, which allowed netroots activism to flourish. Without net neutrality, it would be impossible for smaller websites, such as ours, to compete.
FCC chair Genachowski needs to step up. Join with thousands of others to remind Genachowski to fulfill his promise before it’s too late.
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